Mariachi, a unique sound of a culture


Provided by Valentín Gonzalez

Mariachi District Champions

Miroslava Lem Quinonez, Reporter

The sound of guitars followed by a melody of trumpets and violins and a strong voice ends in a beautiful mariachi ballad. This Mexican music is played with the soul of the students and dedication from a long road of hard work.

Originated in the 18th century and developed over the regions of western Mexico, mariachi emerged from a cultural syncretism of indigenous and foreign elements.

Mariachi is my culture and country, I am fourth generation in my family,” mariachi teacher Valentín Gonzalez said. 

There are 27 members and among the instruments played are the harp, guitarron, vihuela, guitarra de golpe, guitar, violin and trumpet. 

“There are auditions at the end and beginning of the year, (after the year has) started it is difficult to enter (mariachi),” Gonzalez said. 

Student’s spirits are alive in class.

“A typical day in mariachi includes a lot of energy and attitude,” senior Jolie Sanchez said.

Students find a way of expression which leads to personal growth.

“I love the music and the fact that I can be myself in each participation that we have,” Sanchez said.

Covid-19 closed opportunities and new challenges were faced.  

“The biggest challenge has been that several of the members are new to the assigned instruments. Some represent other activities such as jazz, marching band, soccer. And it was difficult to have rehearsals,” Sanchez said. 

Students used to wear white shirts with black pants to go to competitions. New uniforms arrived at the beginning of the year. 

“Together we felt the emotion of having new uniforms, wearing the mariachi uniform is an honor,” junior Sama Pacheco-Alvidrez said. 

Competitions require hard work and dedication.

“Each year on base on the elements I choose the right repertoire base on the UIL regulations,” Gonzalez said. 

State competition provided new perspectives and knowledge.

“We learned a lot of criteria to improve the program,” Gonzalez said. 

Competing at the state level was a new experience.

“It was an amazing experience and it took a lot of work and sacrifice, it was worth it,” senior Humberto Garfias Soto said.

Changes are coming next year.

“There is gonna be a norteño class, instruments like drum, bajo quinto, and accordion will be taught. Also, the mariachi program will extend to the middle school,” Gonzalez said. 

Music is a complex cultural aspect which the class feels proud of representing. 

“I feel worthy of my family’s trajectory and it is a responsibility,” Gonzalez said.